Posted on September 20th, 2021


(Continued from B2)

Western delegations have made it a point to meet and speak with the TNA, when they visit Sri Lanka. These are not secret discussions. They are   proudly reported in the newspapers.

Sampanthan’s discussion with these foreigners covered the full spectrum of Tamil Separatist Movement concerns, such as the National question, Acceptable political resolution Power sharing the possibility of recurrence of violence,  merger of North and East provinces, new constitution,  ‘state sponsored colonization’ plus the fiction that Tamils have been living in the north and east from ancient times, this is their homeland.

Here are some of the things Sampanthan has told these foreigners.

  • We have been governed without our will and consent, and from 1956 onwards our people have repeatedly voted for a change in the structure of governance in the country. These democratic verdicts have been continuously ignored and rejected”.
  • “We have not been given equal opportunities in terms of development and employment and our people are frustrated. On the contrary, if power is devolved then these socio-economic issues could be addressed more effectively “.
  • We are not against natural migration of people. But we are against the state-sponsored settlement schemes which are done deliberately to change the ethnic composition in the regions.
  • “We want to have substantial power-sharing arrangements, an arrangement that will enable people to exercise powers in matters that are related to them, and ensure that these powers are not taken back by the center or will not allow center to interfere. “We are well within the international laws with regard to our demands for power-sharing.
  • Sampanthan  called for a merger of North and East provinces citing ‘the two provinces largely represent Tamil majority’ 
  • “We want a solution within a united undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka on the basis of the dignity self-respect and sovereignty of different people who have historically inhabited certain regions for centuries
  •  Sampanthan said failure to finding a resolution to the national question would result in a recurrence of violence. If the government does not deliver, we may be compelled to take a hardline.

Here are extracts from a speech given by Sampanthan at the Counter terrorism conference, New Delhi, March 2017.

Human society is diverse, it is complex. Societies in most countries are multilingual, multi ethnic, multi-cultural, and pluralistic in character; they vastly differ from each other.  Constitutional arrangements need to accommodate such diversity, such complexity.

Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi lingual, multi-cultural country comprising of the Sinhalese who are the majority and have their own distinct identity, the Tamils, and the Muslims who are numerically minorities and have their own distinct identities. This is accepted in Sri Lanka and is not a bone of contention.  

 The Tamil speaking people have historically inhabited the North Eastern part of the Country and are in a majority in every district in the North Eastern part of the Country, while the Sinhala people are in a majority in the rest of the Country. This too is accepted and is not a bone of contention.

The Country attained independence from Colonial rule in 1948.Before Colonial subjugation, there were Sinhala and Tamil Kingdoms in the Country, which were captured by different Colonial powers, differently, and at different times. These different territories were unified together in 1833 under British Colonial Rule.

Sri Lanka’s first Constitution was framed in 1948 by our Colonial rulers. It provided for Majoritarian rule with certain safeguards, which were soon disregarded. Thereafter, we have had two Constitutions, one in 1972 and the other in 1978.It is the latter that exists today.

The 1972 Constitution was framed by one of the two major Sinhala political parties without the consent of the other major Sinhala political party or the consent of the Tamil political party mainly representing the Tamil people of the North East.

The 1978 constitution was framed by the other major Sinhala political party without the consent of the major Sinhala political party that framed the 1972 Constitution or the consent of the political party mainly representing the Tamil people of the North East.

The 1972 Constitution and the existing 1978 Constitution, were not framed on the basis of consensus, they were unilateral actions of the political party in power at the relevant time .They empowered majoritarian rule.

The political culture prevalent in Sri Lanka has unfortunately been that, in order to achieve and retain political power, the tendency has been to confer on the majority Community a supremacist position, in preference to truth, justice and equality .It must be realized that this approach has resulted in Sri Lanka, not being able to attain its rightful place in the World.

The demand for a change in the structure of Governance has prevailed from shortly after Independence, the demand was made by the Tamil people in the North East who alleged that they were treated as Second class Citizens, that injustice was meted out to them, in matters relating to their Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural rights. They were subjected to physical violence whenever they made just political demands .This happened for several decades without any retaliation from the Tamils.

The political demand of the Tamil people for necessary changes in the structure of Governance was democratically supported ,overwhelmingly ,by the Tamil people of the North East, at every General Election to Parliament from 1956-up to date and at every other election whether provincial or local for a period of more than Sixty years .

The democratic verdicts of the Tamil people were not given recognition .The Tamil people are thus being governed without their consent and against their will in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations.

After that, there was armed revolt by Tamil Youth for almost three decades .Such armed revolt commenced more than three decades after the country attained independence and after all democratic and political processes had failed.

The result of all this has been that up to fifty percent of the Sri Lankan Tamil population have fled the country and live in several Countries the World over.

 The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is spread throughout the World. More than 150000 Tamils have been killed. During the armed conflict, all people Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims suffered immensely. Further violence would result in more Tamils fleeing the Country.

The Conflict has received international attention and four resolutions have been adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.The resolutions deal with violations of International Human Rights Laws and International Humanitarian Laws by both parties to the conflict, the Sri Lankan State and the armed rebel outfit.

The Tamil people are committed to evolving a just, reasonable, workable and durable political solution within the frame-work of a single undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka. [End of speech]   (Continued in B4)

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